button coat wibbling
The week of Valentines day is also half term week this year, so no work for me. We’re spending the week at Gareth’s so I’ve decided the time has come to make something I’ve been keeping on the back boiler for nearly ten years now – my button coat. I’m hoping that if all goes well I can finish it in a week.
This could, I think be considered to be a bit steampunk, but it was concieved long before I’d heard of steampunk. I bought some heavy, dark green watered silk taffeta at the bargain price of four pounds a metre, and the idea was born. It will be a long, fairly dressy coat with a full skirt and mandarin collar – plain enough from the front.
The idea that I would be making this coat at some point in the future has given me an excuse to treat myself in Duttons every now and then. (For those who don’t know of it, Duttons for Buttons has three tiny shops in York, Harrogate and Ilkley that sell pretty much nothing but) I think I may finally have enough.
Then again, we’re going to York next saturday for Gareth’s birthday, so maybe I’ll just pop in. Just in case anything takes my fancy…
Yes, you did read right, the buttons that hold on the sleeves. The sleeves won’t be sewn at all other than hems and buttonholes – the seam up the back of the sleeve will button shut, and then the sleeve itself will button into the shoulder epaullette (not sure I spelled that correctly, nevermind). This means that there will be a small gap at the armpit, cos putting buttons there would be a bit ouchy, but I don’t see that being an issue as this is a dress coat rather than a warm one, and normal arm position will make it largely invisible.
I did consider using buttoned pocket flaps, like the oens found on men’s c18th frock coats, but discounted it for several reasons - it won’t really fit well with the cut I intend to use – I quite like the idea that all the fireworks are at the back – I do put things in my pockets and find buttons there somewhat annoying. So I decided on simple little slit pockets in the seam instead.
I will sort the buttons into large one for the front, medium for the shoulders, and small for the back of the sleeves, just to give it ssome sense of proportion.
The pic on the left, with the plain back, was my original instinct, but then I had the idea of two rows running down from the hip (I quickly discounted a row down the centre back as it would be uncomfortable when sitting, but I think these should fall to either side). The more I look at it, the more I like the extra two rows down the skirt, they sort of balance the sleeves.
It means more buttonholes to do – I think I’ll end up handsewing nearly two hundred in the end(I have all week and I can usually do five an hour at a leisurely pace, six on a good day) - but I think I want the extra buttons. I will machine sew the body, btw, but hand finish and do the many many buttonholes by hand.
It might mean visiting Duttons again tho, and maybe raiding Bonds in Farsley .
The beauty of the mismatched buttons tho, is that if I loose one I can replace it with anything that takes my fancy
There isn’t a pattern for the coat other than the one in my head, so in a fortnights time I will be either pleased with the results or scrunching it up and putting it in the bin, but it ought to be interesting at least.
which reminds me, I need to order thick silk thread for the buttonholes
~ by opusanglicanum on February 4, 2012.